You, Me & Friends “History & Culture” ***Port Arthur Historic Site***

April 2023: On Day 3 of our “Taste of Tasmania” Tour, we checked out of The Wrest Point Hotel in Hobart and hit the road by 8am. It was an easy hour and a half drive to the start of the Tasman Peninsula, then across the narrow entrance of “Eaglehawk neck” and we were soon at Port Arthur Historic site.

A poignant testament to the islands convicts past, this “UNESCO World Heritage-listed site” is a captivating journey through time, offering visitors a glimpse into Australia’s early penal colonies. Amidst the sombre atmosphere, the natural beauty of the surroundings adds a surreal contrast. The site is set against a backdrop of tranquil waters and lush greenery, creating an unexpected harmony between nature and history.

We met our guide Clare for the 10.30am Convict tour, and she talked us through the tales and tribulations of what it was like to be a convict back in those days. The site, with its well-preserved ruins and historic buildings, echoes the tales of hardship and resilience of the thousands of convicts who were once imprisoned here. The imposing penitentiary, the Separate Prison with its solitary confinement cells, and the eerie Isle of the Dead cemetery all weave a haunting narrative of Australia’s colonial history.

After our convict tour, we joined the 12.30pm cruise on a catamaran that took us around the coast of the penal colony. We sailed past the Isle of the Dead, the site of so many unmarked convict graves, then back to Port Arthur pier. On our short walk back to the visitor centre, a small detour took us to the memorial garden dedicated to the victims of the tragic Port Arthur massacre of 28th April 1996.

Stepping onto the grounds of The Port Arthur Historic Site felt like entering a different era, where the echoes of convict history resonate through the well-preserved ruins and stories embedded in every brick.

The combination of open spaces, informative exhibits, and the picturesque setting make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of history, nature, and reflection.

Port Arthur Historic Site left us to contemplate the complexities of the nation’s past, while being surrounded by the beauty of the present.

A Summary of the History of Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania

 

Oh my gosh, we all had a fantastic day out. Thank you so much. I really didn’t expect to like all those weird and wonderful snacks during the "Curious Food Train" activity, and didn’t think they would all participate. The staff all keep thanking us for such a great day. Looking forward to next years event!